There are serviceable NBA players out there, and teams could benefit from their talents.
While all the premier free agents are spoken for at this relatively late point, it’s time for teams to evaluate what kind of bang they can get for their buck with who’s left.
Here’s who the Lakers and Rockets should consider:
Lakers: Kenneth Faried
It’s no secret that the Lakers are searching for a big man now that DeMarcus Cousins will likely miss all of 2019-20 with a torn ACL, but they might be looking in the wrong spots for his replacement.
Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah have reportedly drawn interest from Los Angeles, but they’re entering their mid-30s and have dealt with injuries of their own recently.
Kenneth Faried on the other hand doesn’t turn 30 until November and immediately stepped into an important role with the Rockets last season. He averaged 12.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game on 58.7% shooting in his 25 games with Houston and instantly plugs into just about any team’s system.
At 6-8, he runs the floor hard, rebounds tenaciously, blocks shots and is will to hit the floor for loose balls. He’s a high-energy big who can boost any lineup off the bench, regardless of how much he plays.
It’s definitely worth a shot.
Rockets: Yante Maten
The Rockets’ frontcourt situation is an interesting one, as they have Clint Capela starting at center and two 6-8 players in P.J. Tucker and Gary Clark listed as power forwards on their depth chart.
Houston has made of habit of finding diamonds in the rough who don’t necessarily have prototypical size to play down low but fit into their defensive schemes because of versatility and ability to switch.
Maten, who turned 23 on Aug. 14, is another 6-8 guy who appeared in only two games for the Heat in 2018-19 but averaged 23.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game for Miami’s G League affiliate while knocking down 3-pointers at a 32.7% clip.
That’s better than the 29.7% Clark converted last season, and he appeared in 51 games for a Rockets team that was significantly better than the Heat last year.
Maten also was on the rag-tag team that beat Team USA’s FIBA World Cup team by 19 points in a scrimmage earlier this month at training camp. If Houston can upgrade its rebounding and get another piece that can play up to the level of the competition he faces, it’ll be a win.